Welcome Incoming Digital Musics Student, Shannon Werle

On September 25, 2013 by Grad Forum

werle_incoming_thumbnailThe Graduate Forum welcomes Shannon Werle to the MA program in digital musics at Dartmouth. Werle grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended the University of Chicago where she majored in architecture. Towards the end of her college career, Werle studied with new media artist, Anthony Luensman, and discovered her interests in the relationship between sound art and architectural space.

In 2010, Werle was invited as a Berlin House of Representatives Predoctoral Fellow to study the interaction of sound and space, or aural architecture, in Berlin, Germany. Aural architecture describes our experience of architecture through hearing, rather than seeing. Berlin, known as a city with plenty of open public space, lent itself well to Werle’s research. While in Germany, Werle participated in seminars led by Auditive Architecture, a research group that promotes the analysis of sound environments and imagines the unrealized aural architecture of the future.

Werle subsequently earned a Master of Engineering in Architecture and Urban Studies degree at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where she was a member of the Tsukamoto Laboratory. One of the areas that researchers in the Tsukamoto Laboratory study is the use of architecture as a means for creating social engagement within densely populated communities. The proliferation of street cafes in Tokyo is a relatively recent phenomenon, and because of limited space, Tokyo’s cafes often necessarily occupy interstitial spaces, such as gaps between buildings. It is, therefore, challenging to promote social engagement solely through visually appealing architectural design. In her fieldwork, Werle investigated how the aural, rather than visual, architecture of Tokyo’s street cafes may promote social interaction. Werle’s work culminated in a thesis entitled “Tokyo Street Cafes as a Sonorous Field.”

At Dartmouth, Werle is excited to investigate the Upper Valley’s open space as it relates to the practice of sound art. “Every architectural space has its own acoustic character, creating a unique sound environment,” observes Werle. She plans to investigate how our perception may be altered through the advancement of new acoustic analysis/synthesis techniques, and how these in turn may alter the social meaning of a space. She sees the aural architecture of the future as a tool for enhanced interaction between inhabitants and sound environment.

Werle enjoys writing and has recently published several articles, including “Towards a New Urban Sound,” published in Bracket [goes soft], edited by Neeraj Bhatia and Lola Sheppard. When she is not writing about or listening to architecture, Werle enjoys traveling and cooking.

by Andy Sarroff

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